One of the great things about the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the monthly housing allowance that can help student Veterans pay the bills while attending class. The payments are tied to the Defense Department BAH levels, which are paid at the E-5 with dependents level. It’s the end of the year, and that means a revision of the housing rates for the military—and in effect, for students using the GI Bill as well.

The good news is that the average payment increase is about two percent. However, the 2012 rates won’t take effect until August 1, which means that if rates increased in your area, you won’t see the uptick until September 1.

If your school is located in an area where rates went down, you will continue to be paid your current rate unless you change schools or have more than a six month break in training. I’ll leave it to the good folks at VA’s GI Bill Facebook page to explain in detail (and if you don’t follow them, you should):

Public Law 111 – 377 (the Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act of 2010) amended the effective date for the adjustment of the MHA you receive under the Post-9/11 GI Bill from the beginning of the calendar year (January 1) to the beginning of the academic year (August 1).

Therefore, if the BAH increased for your area, you will not see an increase until your September 2012 payment for training pursued in August. If the BAH decreases for your area, your MHA amount will not decrease unless you change schools or have more than a six-month break in training.

Check out the current housing allowance rate for this year as well as any applicable change for 2012. Enter your school’s ZIP code (not where you live), select E-5 as your grade, then read the box that says “with dependents.” Remember, that rate is what you would be paid at the 100 percent level of Chapter 33. You can determine your eligibility percentage here.

Mark Strozier/Flickr

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Published on Dec. 28, 2011

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